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Christina Pryor is the Consulting and Education Services Manager for Amigos Library Services and is a past President of the St. Louis Metro Area Chapter of SLA.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I joined Amigos Library Services in September of this year after working in public and special libraries for the past six years. What drew me to this position was the opportunity to be a part of a talented organization that provides support and resources to libraries of all types to help them succeed and fulfill their missions as information agencies. My favorite part so far has been the ability to utilize my previous experiences to tailor continuing education offerings that will help libraries. I am currently developing a series of courses related to library management including approaches to developing partnerships, how to help staff embrace change, and targeting new audiences.
Also, I am someone who thrives with change and I am driven to continue to learn. This position with Amigos gives me the opportunity to take several aspects from my previous experiences and meld them into one all while bringing a new growth opportunity to me as an individual and providing support to libraries all over. It is rewarding to know that we are helping libraries solve issues they are facing, providing resources they need to offer their patrons, and developing training to keep them informed and invigorated in the profession. What’s not to love!
What’s the one piece of advice you would tell someone new to the field?
I have a hard time limiting myself to just one piece of advice for someone new to the information profession. Probably the best piece of advice I can offer is network. I know that it is not always easy to walk up and start talking to someone you do not know but you never know how that contact will assist you in the future. My ability to network and build professional relationships in this field has led to some of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in my career.
I just have to share two other pieces of advice. Do not discount the transferable skills that you have acquired from other jobs or careers. There have been many times throughout my career as a librarian that I have leveraged skills that I acquired from my previous careers in marketing and publishing. You will use it all at some point.
Finally, do not be afraid to negotiate. I know it is intimidating and outside of our comfort zone as information professionals but whether you are ironing out the details of a contract with a vendor or accepting a new position, it does not hurt to try to negotiate. My rule of thumb is to go in with a strategy, know the areas that are most important to you as well as where you can bend, be creative, and have a goal in mind. You may not get everything you were asking for but you will probably get more than if you had not tried to negotiate at all.
What do you value about SLA?
There is so much to say about the value of SLA! It has meant so much to me professionally throughout the years and has provided me with many opportunities. I have enjoyed every minute of my involvement with SLA and the St. Louis Chapter. The first thing that comes to mind is the networking and professional opportunities that the local SLA chapter has provided me. The St. Louis Metro Area Chapter of SLA definitely helped me get my foot in the door for my first information professional position after completing my Master’s.
I have also appreciated all of the opportunities I have had to volunteer for the St. Louis Chapter. I have served in many positions including the chapter’s first Fundraising Chair, the Public Relations Chair, and I am a past President. I enjoy being a part of an organization and actively participating but in addition I gained valuable skills in governance, volunteer recruitment, and management.
Probably one of the things I value most about the St. Louis Chapter is the support of an amazing group of people. I am proud to be a member of such a dynamic group and truly value everything that I have learned from our Chapter members. I have also appreciated the support at the local level who nominated me as a SLA Rising Star in 2011. It was heartwarming that my local chapter propelled me forward to win this award from SLA. This group has shaped me throughout my career as an information professional and will continue to do so. There are many talented and extraordinary members of the St. Louis Chapter of SLA and I am pleased to be a part of it.
What has been your favorite SLA event?
From an event attendee point of view, I always enjoy the Professional Development night. Whether I was having my resume reviewed or later on serving as a resume reviewer, I always found this event to be energizing for me. It was great to see the local St. Louis library community come together to help each other out and to listen to the beneficial advice from those in the field.
As far as my volunteer service to the St. Louis Chapter of SLA goes, by far my favorite event was the chapter’s first-ever trivia night. This was an amazing undertaking for the chapter but there was so much support within the group that there was no doubt that this event was going to be a great success. It was fun to be a part of getting the chapter’s fundraising endeavor off the ground and I appreciate Betsy Williams, Patrick Hendershot, and Geri Heberlie for choosing me to this take on for the Chapter.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Currently my reading seems to focus a lot on toddlers but let’s face it you can only read so many “how to be a rockstar mother” books. Currently, I am reading Jim Gaffigan’s book Dad is Fat which is highly entertaining if perhaps not the most educational child development title out there.
What’s your favorite new app, program or website? How has it made your life/work easier?
I just recently starting using the NoWait app which is not really a new app but I am currently in love with it. The app allows users to view wait times of nearby restaurants and registered users can join a restaurant’s waitlist right through their smartphone. The app launched in Pittsburgh in 2013 and went nationwide in early 2014. My free time is limited and when I do get the chance to have a night out, I hate the idea of standing in a cramped restaurant lobby or outside in the rain waiting for a table. It is a great time saver and when reservations are not an option, it is a helpful little tool.
Lastly, how can people connect with you? (LinkedIn, email, twitter, etc)
Please feel free to contact me via email, LinkedIn, or Twitter.